The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: Book Review

Book Name: The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts

Author: David Colbert

ISBN: 042519891X (ISBN13: 9780425198919)

Publisher: Berkley Books


This book is a guide to understanding the magical terms that have been used in  the fictional Harry Potter book series. It explores the reason behind the magical references, myths and fictional facts that J.K Rowling has used in her books.


The book provides a foreword on how to read the book and with what perspectives. The book as several chapters and there is an afterword to the book recommending the readers other specific books to be read in the fantasy genre.

The book is beautifully drafted because the author has reviewed a vast literature of  mythological genre and has given associations to Rowling’s playful references, analogies, anagrams, word plays, metaphors and the usage of magical terms. This book acts as a guide for ardent readers of the Harry Potter series, to understand the depth of Rowling’s conceptualizations.

Some times they can be a playful reference like how ‘Dumbledore’s name comes from an old English word for bumble bee as Rowling likes the idea that this music lover might absentmindedly hum to himself.’

Sometimes there are serious analogies that have been created by Rowling as how ‘Sirius Black’ is an analogy of the Dog Star where in ancient Egypt the star was used as a guidance to help souls reach heaven. Sirius is an Animagus of a black dog and like the dog star Sirius, the character Sirius Black helps Harry fight for the good and deliver freedom from Voldemort.

There are moral conceptualizations like “how the Mirror of Erised is the key to finding the stone, it is also a test of character. Vanity and selfishness, central to the act of looking in a mirror are corrupt qualities. Because only some one with a rare virtue deserves his desire, only someone who looks in the mirror…or sees himself committing a selfless act will receive what he wishes.” This fascinating fact is something which has not been told directly by Rowling to the readers but has been discovered by Colbert after his research.

Rowling has also used a lot of magical words in her book which have been derived from the Latin language which sends out a message to the readers that the ancient language has to be preserved and its beauty, understood. This observation was brought out by Colbert with a few references of magical words like ‘Impedimenta’, ‘Obliviate’, ‘Ruparo’ etc.,

He has also compared the literary themes that run in mythological and fantasy literature to that of Rowling’s books. Her books have three dominating themes: departure, initiation and return. He has explained these themes by detailing the plots in each of her books corresponding to those themes.


 It is fascinating to understand how much of work has gone into writing the Harry Potter  series. The series provide hidden morals to readers of all ages.

  1. These references also give an insight about the author who has given clues, telling us that we need to explore and understand concepts as there is more that meets the eye.
  2. Latin is one of the most ancient languages.
  3. Mythological literature is a reflection of human wants and needs and it is filled with morals that teach humans to evolve.


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